Knicks at Nets season opener will be postponed, despite earlier reports

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UPDATE #3, 2:42 pm: Finally the NBA has come to its senses on this.

The league has decided to postpone this game to a future date, one where the subway service is up and running and people can make it to the game. While the arena is open and available fans would have struggled to get there. Plus it just would have been insensitive.

Sucks for the Nets, though. Not only to delay the opener, but to give a banged up Knicks time to get healthy before they do play is a double whammy.

UPDATE #2, 12:42 pm: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that there will be limited New York subway service restored on Thursday. Not sure that is going to be enough to help much for the many fans who want to get out to Brooklyn for the game, however.

UPDATE 11:45 am: If you want to go to this game, tickets are becoming more affordable.

What had been an expensive game to go see because of the demand for tickets has seen ticket prices drop in the wake of Sandy, reports Darren Rovell at ESPN.

 The change in market demand can best be seen on the ticket-resale market. Just five days ago, the cheapest ticket on the secondary market was $201. By Wednesday morning, a fan could buy a seat for $144, according to TiqIQ, a resale ticket-market search engine. On popular resale ticket site StubHub, a lower-level center court seat that couldn’t be had for less than $800 last week can now be snapped up for $550 as of Wednesday morning. The average ticket purchased for the game on StubHub has plummeted 31.5 percent since last week, going from $371 to $253 per seat.

Also, Stubhub.com is giving refunds to fans who bought tickets but now can’t make it to the game.

11:24 am: The show must go on. Even to an empty house.

The Brooklyn Nets will open their season hosting the New York Knicks, the game will be the first regular season game in the new Barclays Center and Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony and all the stars will be there (including Jay-Z). So reports the New York Post.

The NBA announced last night that the Nets’ season opener against the Knicks at Barclays Center tomorrow night will go on as scheduled, despite the devastation the storm left in its wake across the five boroughs Monday….

But a Barclays Center official said the arena made it through the storm virtually unharmed, and although a Smashing Pumpkins concert scheduled for tonight has been postponed the Nets are set to practice there today after being off the past two days. The team’s New Jersey practice facility was without power yesterday, as was much of the surrounding area.

The issue was never the arena, it was how people are going to get to the arena.

The New York subway system is shut down and that is how most people were supposed to get to the arena — 11 subway lines or train lines come to the building. Yet none of them are running and are not expected to be running by game time Thursday (or maybe future games Saturday and Monday).

The Barclay Center is in one of the busiest parts of Brooklyn and an area with little parking — yet by car over the Brooklyn Bridge is the only way to get there from Manhattan.

Still, the show must go on.

Lakers’ recruiting pitch for Paul George leaks

AP Photo/R Brent Smith
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LeBron James doesn’t want elaborate pitches in free agency.

Paul George never said that, though.

So, the Lakers are apparently planning to put some showbiz into their recruitment.

Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated, citing a “Hollywood source,” revealed a Lakers pitch for George. The direction:

Less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx. A bit more edge an attitude to their voice, and a bit less aspirational

The text:

When you were just a kid

In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale

We were dreaming too.

While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival

And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.

Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.

The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too

Who wrote this, noted storyteller Kobe Bryant?

My bigger question: Did or did not the Lakers, who’ve gone to great lengths to make their interest in George known, want this to leak before the official start of free agency?

Report: No divide between Chris Paul and Rockets over contract

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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That rumor of tension between Chris Paul and the Rockets over his contract?

Sam Amick of USA Today:

As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Remember, everyone who leaks something has an agenda. But I find this report far more credible than the initial rumor.

Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. That’s a lot to commit to a 33-year-old, but Paul took a discount to facilitate an opt-in-and-trade to Houston last year. He expects to be made whole.

Until Broussard’s report, all indications were the Rockets would appease him. Barring more information, that should remain the expectation.

Report: LeBron James not planning to sit for elaborate pitch meetings in free agency

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LeBron James held court in Cleveland in 2010, listening to pitch after pitch as teams flew in to recruit the superstar during free agency. That approach became a model, and Kevin Durant followed it in the Hamptons in 2016.

But maybe once is enough.

Durant announced months ago he’d stay with the Warriors. And now LeBron – who could definitely leave Cleveland – is making clear he doesn’t want the hoopla, either.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

sources close to the situation tell ESPN that he has no intention of hearing elaborate pitch meetings from teams.

league sources believe he and his agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini have enough understanding of the stakes and NBA landscape to handle the process without much fanfare.

LeBron is still haunted by The Decision. He’s a great player and philanthropist and does plenty to connect with fans. Yet, people still dislike him purely because of how he changed teams eight years ago.

If I wielded as much power as LeBron, I’d want suitors wining and dining me. He wants to avoid more backlash.

This will probably look similar to 2014 – LeBron’s agents hearing out teams then LeBron meeting with only the most serious options, though the final announcement will likely come via Uninterrupted rather than Sports Illustrated.

The Lakers, Cavaliers, Rockets and 76ers are commonly viewed as the favorites for LeBron. This approach makes it less likely for a longshot to emerge – though, for what it’s worth, we don’t know those four teams are his favorites right now.

Report: Nuggets re-signing Nikola Jokic to five-year max after declining team option

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Nuggets are building around Nikola Jokic.

But a second-round pick turning into a franchise player so quickly creates complications. Denver is resolving one by declining Jokic’s team option, which will send him into restricted free agency (as opposed to unrestricted free agency next year) and paying him.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This ought to please Jokic. He would have earned just $1,600,520 next season if Denver exercised his team option.

Jokic is one of the best-passing full-time centers ever. He also shoots and rebounds well, though he must improve his defense to become worthy of this contract. At just 23, he’s worth betting on.

That said, I’m surprised the Nuggets didn’t get him on a slight discount. Though they clearly didn’t want to risk him testing unrestricted free agency next year, they gave him a MASSIVE raise (about $24 million) next season when they didn’t have to.

Jokic’s exact max salary won’t be determined until the salary cap and luxury-tax line are set this month. But this clearly puts Denver in cost-cutting mode now.

As constructed, the Nuggets are in line for about $24 million in luxury-tax payments. That’s without considering Will Barton, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent. Expect Denver to look to unload Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Wilson Chandler and/or Mason Plumlee.

Jokic was always going to be in Denver next season. The Nuggets have now secured him far longer. It will cost them next year – an important season to them – but they also clearly value a future with Jokic.